Feedback from Lea Alhilali, MD
My experience as a visiting professor at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center (KCMC) in Tanzania in September 2023 has left an indelible impact on my perspective of healthcare and the global disparities therein. While I had previously been acutely aware of healthcare inequities in the United States, my time at KCMC illuminated the universal scale of this issue. It underscored the fundamental difference between viewing healthcare as a commodity and recognizing it as a basic human right, serving as a stark reminder that, in many parts of the world, healthcare is not guaranteed but rather a financial burden for individuals and families. Witnessing patients’ resilience in the face of these challenges, where funds needed to be raised to access even basic healthcare, was both humbling and eye-opening.
The dedication of the physicians at KCMC, despite working with limited resources and educational tools, was truly inspirational. Unlike in the United States, they lack advanced technology, dictation software, or high-resolution screens, and yet their commitment to patient care and hunger for knowledge are unwavering. Teaching the residents at KCMC revealed the universality of the physician-teacher relationship, transcending borders and cultural differences.
KCMC relies on donated interventional supplies and volunteer lectures to bridge the healthcare gap, emphasizing the importance of collaborative efforts to improve patient care. My continued involvement with the hospital, through virtual consultations, teaching, and donations from my radiology group, serves as a testament to the enduring connections formed during my visit. I urge others to consider getting involved with Anne Osborn Visiting Professorship and organizations like RAD-AID, as my experience reaffirms that the pursuit of better patient care is a universal endeavor. The physicians at KCMC are a testament to what can be achieved with determination and dedication, and by supporting their efforts, we can collectively enhance healthcare access for those who need it most.